Down by the Salley Gardens has an unusual background for a song that has passed into the Irish folk music tradition. Nevertheless, it has become one of the most recorded Irish songs of all time and has attracted the attention of performers from widely different musical backgrounds.
Ironically, considering it was written by a great poet regarded by many as a literary genius, the song is one of the simplest you will find anywhere in the Irish music repertoire. It all ends in tears. We are not told why but the presumption is that he tried to move too fast and so frightened her away. In a note on the poem, he said that he was trying to reconstruct an old song he had heard being sung by a woman in the village of Ballisodare in Sligo.
He could only remember a few lines but acknowledged his debt to the original version by calling his new poem, An Old Song Re-sung. It was only changed to the Salley Gardens when it was published again in in his collection, Poems.
The song that Yeats heard the old woman singing was almost certainly the old Irish tune, You Rambling Boys of Pleasure.
In a field by the river my love and I did stand, And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand. She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs; But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.
He commented in his liner notes: A W. They noted: A beautiful lyric, from one of the greatest poets of these islands. London, UK: Macmillan. Norman A new commentary on the poems of W. Women composers: The lost tradition found 2nd ed. New York: The Feminist Press. The LiederNet Archive. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. Retrieved 17 March Compilations - Other albums which feature this performance of the song. Covers - Performances of a song with the same name by different artists.
Uploaded by KLR on August 25, Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. Down by the Sally Gardens. In a Lifetime. More Albums. Autumn Leaves Are Falling Remastered in Robin The Hooded Man Remastered You're the One Remastered in Why Worry?
Remastered in"Maireid Sullivan is a poet and her voice is magic" Marilyn Ferguson, Brain/Mind Bulletin, Jan. (Author of the Aquarian Conspiracy) “When you listen to Mairéid sing, you get the feeling that she dips into the well, as it were, to bring you back clear water. You take this gift and feel refreshed. There’s no doubt that the well she goes.